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Cheshire East Council is introducing new, tougher landlord penalties on rogue property investors.
Buy to let investors could be banned from letting properties under the new enforcement policy. They could also be entered onto a national database.
Cheshire East Council is aiming to crack down on poor housing standards in the area by amending its enforcement policy.
The new powers add to the enforcement options already available to the council such as the ability to issue civil penalties of up to £30,000 and rent repayment orders for certain housing offences. These were added to the policy in August 2017.
In the last year, Cheshire East Council has issued fines amounting to nearly £25,000 against five landlords. All of the rogue investors had failed to apply for a licence for a house in multiple occupation (HMO).
Cabinet member for housing, planning and regeneration, Councillor Ainsley Arnold, said: ‘There are many responsible private landlords in Cheshire East, who offer well-managed accommodation that is of a good standard, helping to ensure the welfare of tenants.
‘Disappointingly, though, there are a small number who either do not understand their legal responsibilities when providing housing or deliberately ignore their duties. This council is committed to challenging poor-quality housing and will proactively work with landlords to improve standards, where they fall short. But, where landlords fail to take the necessary action, we will make full use of the enforcement options available to us.’
The updated housing enforcement policy includes a guide for landlords who manage HMOs which outlines the amenities, property and management standards expected of them. The ‘fit and proper person’ test has also been amended.
The amendment also edited the type of HMOs that require a licence. From 1 October, all HMOs where there are five or more occupants who are living in two or more separate households must be licensed.
Councillor Arnold continued: ‘Operating without a licence is a criminal offence and landlords could face an unlimited fine. That is why we are urging landlords of HMOs, who have not already done so, to apply for one as soon as possible.’